Sorry, I've been blog delinquent lately, I'm blaming that on all the virusy stuff going around the BH at the minute and the fact that for some reason, I'm catching each and every one of them in succession. Anyways, as I'm resting up on the road to recovery (again), I have a few minutes to share a good laugh from today....about the only thing I did today in fact, make that the last few days.
Me and my counterpart Anna, took two of our kids for consults at the HIV clinic. We'll and a 3rd, but she's an older kid, and not really part of the story, so I'm excluding her. It's been a long morning for little baby Addie (she's 10 wks) cause she had a long bumpy car ride out there, then the mean clinic people stuck her finger, then the doctor poked and prodded her.....then she started getting hungry. Now let me share a little something right from the start.....we have way to many kids to feed on demand.....we have to keep them on a schedule....a pretty tight one, so the tias aren't feeding all the kids at the same time and never getting rest. Just think if you had quintuplets (that's 5) and you only had 1 other person to help you out every day. Oh yeah, they'd be on a schedule. So we're almost ready to go, and Anna's taking the prescriptions to the pharmacy while I sit with Addie and Lorenco (2 yrs) and his balloon, and his cookies, and his juice box, and all of our stuff to wait for her. I'm sitting in the middle of the open air waiting room, as in we're outside, but there's a nice cover over our heads. Of course, I'm being stared at, that goes without saying. I'm the white girl with 2 Mozambican babies....make that the ONLY white person (minus Anna, but she's way gone by this point)...and my baby isn't capalana'd to my back, and Lorenco is drinking from an actual juice box and well, I'm white. So I'm juggling a million things to help Lorenco hold his precious balloon (it's green) and eat his cookies (it's past snack time) while drinking from those darn squeezable juice boxes that 2 yr olds rarely know how to operate (and Mozambican 2 yr olds NEVER know how to). Now's about the time, Addie's tired of these games and starts screaming. Now, I've never minded a screaming baby. Ok, almost never. Usually it doesn't get to me. It annoys me here though when I'm in public, cause all the women around you start chatting and staring and finger pointing about how you are an inadequate caregiver and don't know nothing about babies. That's not just me being paranoid. It's the truth. So I dig in the baby bag to find her pacifier that's buried under tons of things, being careful not to squeeze the juice box, drop the cookies, or the baby. All the while, Addie's getting louder. I find it. Stick it in her mouth. Ahhh....no more crying. for 2 minutes, until Addie shoves it out of her mouth and it rolls onto her chest and bounces onto the cold dirty ground, all while I'm helping Lorenco with his juice box. Yeah, there's not a 2nd pacifier. That was it. And I'm not a germ freak, but she's 10 wks, it's the GROUND, as in outside, at a community clinic, and she's had a a fever all week. Sorry, Addie. No more pacifier for you. Gonna have to suck it up. She accepted my little speech, then thought about it, wrinkled her nose, and began to wail. At this point I start the bounce....not calming her, hmmm....change positions.....not doing it.....ok, change again....nope. Diaper? check....change the diaper. Even louder screaming. I whisper into her ear: Please Addie, don't you wanna just be quiet....people are STARING. ha ha. I stand up and rock her. Now, let's say I'm thankful that Lorenco is a good little 2 yr old and is just holding his balloon, eating his cookie (the same 1 for the last 15 min) and staring at me. Praise the Lord, any other 2 yr old and I'd be in trouble at this point. So I sit back down, and try again. The longest Addie's been quiet is like 1 minute. Oh, Anna, hurry up and come back. No Anna. Next thing I know, over the screaming wails of my 10 wk old I hear...."SSSST, SSSSST, Senhora" Deep breath erin, this is NOT going to be good. Let me interject a cultural point here....Mozambicans believe in community babies. I mean, it's not unusual for a baby to be crying and another women to take it from them and help them, or give pointers. They stop each other on the road and say, you know, you baby's not quite capalana'd right....here....or say, you need to do this with your baby. It's how they learn from the older women on down from when they were children and so on. Anyway, I figure I'm about to get a pointer.
A young woman says: she's hungry, she needs milk. Yes, yes, I think....I know she's hungry. The little rug rat refused to take her normal bottle on the rocky ride over here and now she's hungry early....an entire hour early, and NO she can't have it early. All thoughts though. So I say: I know, but she's already had her bottle. Now all 6 women around me are staring at me and say: well she needs more milk, can't you see she's hungry. Interject another cultural point here: Mozambicans feed soley on demand. They breastfeed till at least 2 yrs. Baby cries, they swing the capalana'd tot from the back, to the front, and feed the baby. Baby feeds for 5 minutes and gets bored, cause it wasn't really hungry in the first place. Baby gets swung around to the back again. Baby cries another 15 minutes later, and back to the front to feed again it goes. This goes on ALL day. No kidding. So I insert a little lie here.....sorry, but I did it....I say. Well, she already drank her milk when we got here and it's gone and I don't have any more for her, she'll have to wait, we're leaving in a few minutes (I pray-hurry up Anna). I get confused looks at this point and the women start chattering to each other....Addie's still crying and now the entire half of the waiting room is staring at the white girl with the screaming baby. Yeah, mine's the ONLY one screaming. Why did I lie? Yeah, I had another bottle, of course I did...it's for in another hour, when her bottle is due. But if I tried to explain that one to them, they would be mutiny and I'm pretty sure they'd find the bottle and start feeding her themselves. So I stuck with the safe (so I thought) bet of....there's no more milk. Ok, rally over, the women turn back to me and say...what, no milk. She needs milk, what are you going to do. So I explain, patiently again, that we're leaving in a few minutes and I have some more at home. At this point, I think they were shocked, that a-I still wasn't feeding this starving (exaggerated) baby, and b-how could I be out of milk, as that was impossible. So the ring leader, says....you can just feed her here...pointing to herself and pretending to Breast feed her infant. Ummmm.....I look at myself and my baby and wonder how (for the 20th time) anyone could think that this is very dark infant is MY baby and that I could breastfeed it and then I begin to explain that I'm not the momma and I am not going to breastfeed her, cause she drinks milk out of bottles. I promise, it will all be ok, she just ate, and we are leaving in a few minutes (where is Anna???). They all get silent and exchange looks, and stare at me shamefully. Then one of them offers me her own baby's half drank, probably watered-down, and very cold, sitting out since this am or before, bottle to give to little Addie. I am quite flattered, but am not desperate, and somehow think that I could just shove the dirty pacifier back in her mouth at this point. It would, less likely, be as harmful, and maybe she'd stop crying, and then they'd stop yelling at me. Ok, yelling isn't the right term. I politely (well, that's what I hoped it was anyway) refused the bottle and say very assertively that we'll be leaving any minute now, but thanks anyway. Finally Anna rounds the corner. She says...another 15 minutes. I look at her and say...we don't have 15 minutes. She suggests we go wait by the car.....brilliant save Anna....cause I'm pretty sure that any minute now, one of these mommas is going to steal Addie from me and start nursing this kid if we don't run out of here. We gather up our stuff and scoot out of there.
And just so you know...this sort of thing happens all the time when I'm at consults. I don't stop finding it amusing. and a little bit embarrassing. I'm over it. so how was your day??
Posted by erin at 23:11